In the United States there are approximately one and three-quarter million miles of pipelines subject to federal safety standards. These pipelines are used to move nearly all the natural gas and about one-half of the petroleum and petroleum products transported annually. The Department of Transportation is responsible for inspecting both interstate and intrastate pipeline operators, but the law allows the states to assume this responsibility for all or some of the intrastate operators. To assume this responsibility, the states must agree to enforce the federal safety standards. The Department has not provided adequate inspection coverage of the interstate and intrastate pipeline operators for which it is responsible. Also, the Department does not have a viable means of requiring states to assume greater responsibility for intrastate operators or to improve their inspection programs. Most states indicated that they lack the resources needed to assume responsibility for all intrastate gas operators or the intrastate hazardous liquids operators which the federal safety standards will cover beginning sometime in 1984. In fact, some states have reduced their inspection activity, and a few are considering dropping out of the program. Therefore, the Department's inspection workload is likely to increase. GAO is recommending that the Department present to the appropriate congressional committees alternatives for better aligning federal program responsibilities and inspection resources. GAO also is making recommendations for improving the Department's own inspection activities and its evaluations of the states' pipeline safety programs. (Author)

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures;
  • Pagination: 99 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00387997
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO/RCED-84-102
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 30 1984 12:00AM